I’ve been reading Nietzsche’s “The Anti-Christ” and he makes several salient points that you miss here. The dying god is, I agree, the pinnacle of all value and the cross is the place to fix attention in such a way that we can embody that nobility, that divinity. The Bible, however, and especially Paul’s letters in the New Testament are actually antithetical to this idea, this archetype of the dying and resurrected god. Paul perverted the story (due to his own very specific and perhaps unrepeatable cultural and religious heritage) into a religion of decadence rather than one of nobility. The New Testament is tainted by this decadence, precisely in the idea that the Christ died FOR us (I.e. so we don’t have to) rather than that the Christ died in the same way that he lived: without resistance, or resentment, willing to meet death and be shaped by it. So yes, I think any human culture will inevitably come to the idea of the dying/resurrected god (and all of them have in some way: Osiris, Odin, Shiva, etc.) but the particular quality of the Bible we have now is specific to a certain “genius of decadence” as Nietzsche describes it that depends on the idealization of the virtues of the weak, The sick, the resentful and the vengeful. This is not the set of virtues that defines the dying god and does not bring one into relationship with that archetype, congealed and worshipped by our ancestors. So the Bible we have is, in some ways a book about the process you have described here. But in more influential ways it is a decadent perversion of that religious ideal.

Perhaps, however, any Bible will inevitably be commandeered by such decadent forces, simply because the nobility of the truly heroic and divine ends up protecting the all-too-many from death (I.e. allows unfit life to exist at the expense of the superfluous power of the hero). These “abortions” as Nietzsche calls them, are inevitably miserable in their ill health and inconsequence and will do what all life does: seek more power. Some or many of them will be clever enough to do so by essentially inverting the moral order that actually does contribute to the well being and future of the tribe. They will make nobility synonymous with evil and weakness/sickness synonymous with virtue thereby disempowering and disvaluing the very god they claim to serve and making humanity ill and petty across the board in the name of “equality” or “Democracy” neither of which is real, possible, or healthy for the human social system.

Perhaps this is necessary and inexorable, as all natural processes—and human religion is nothing if not a perfectly natural process (as you have described so well here)—go through a period of birth, growth, power, corruption, decay and death as an endlessly turning cycle of coming into being and passing away again.

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This line:

People, given enough social stability and wealth and time always tend toward monotheism

Haunting, for the monotheist as he ultimately worships himself or worships that which is outside himself but arguably the Christian narrative presents a God capable of inhabiting the human (spirit) while encompassing and even surpassing creation (father).

Well done Taylor! I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall for those conversations with you, Michael and Grace!

Mos Maiorum

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Jan 7Liked by Taylor Foreman

Wholeheartedly agree (& disagree with Ricky!!). God(s) & faith are some of the few consistencies across history & culture. It is inevitable. I also think Ricky’s comment (I’m not sure what year he made it) is a bit outdated. I am optimistic that society is moving past the point of having to pit spirituality/mythology against science & realism. Both would be discovered & embraced again because both are required to live an ideal life & thriving community.

Also I had no idea about the Americans paying more for media than food annually.. insane. I appreciate the attention commentary.

Lastly, this essay reminded me of the quote: (I don’t know who said it and I could be butchering it, please feel free to correct if anyone knows) “Your believing in God does nothing for God.” We really reap all the benefits ourselves.

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